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Innovative Diagnostics for Helminth Parasite Infections

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Monday, December 16, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Project details:

Helminth (worm) parasites cause ill health and poor productivity in farm animals worldwide. Control relies largely on anthelmintic drugs, either applied en masse to entire herds based on perceived infection risk, or guided by treatment decisions made using sub-optimal diagnostic tests. Improved diagnostic and prognostic tools could catalyse a step-change in helminth control, enabling evidence-based treatment decisions, reduced resistance risk, and more accurate parasite risk forecasting. This project will employ state-of-the-art molecular and computational biology methods to develop sensitive, specific molecular diagnostic and prognostic tools for locally relevant veterinary helminth infections. The first stage of the project will identify and measure extracellular biomarkers in blood samples from helminth-infected animals. These data will then be analysed computationally, using network analyses and a kind of artificial intelligence called supervised machine learning, to identify patterns of molecules associated with parasite infection. The aim is that these “molecular fingerprints” will provide biomarkers that form the basis of improved diagnostic and prognostic tests, that will support improved parasite control in production animals.

This project will be supervised by Dr Paul McVeigh and Dr Nikki Marks of Queen’s University School of Biological Sciences.

All applications MUST be submitted through https://dap.qub.ac.uk/portal/user/u_login.php.

Specific skills/experience required by applicants:

Applications welcome from candidates with demonstrable molecular biology and/or computational/coding experience.

All applicants must meet the academic entry requirements: https://www.qub.ac.uk/courses/postgraduate-research/biological-sciences-phd.html#entry

Funding Notes

Only UK and EU students are eligible to apply. Before applying, it is strongly recommended that you read the full information on eligibility criteria available from DfE: View Website.

Please note in particular that not all successful applicants may be eligible to receive a full studentship (i.e. fees and stipend) - please read in detail the Residency and Citizenship requirements in the document linked to above.

How good is research at Queen’s University Belfast in Agriculture, Veterinary and Food Science?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 33.40

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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